tv President Obama Remarks on Broadband Access CSPAN January 18, 2015 11:20am-11:41am EST
ws and the whole team here at cedar falls utilities for hosting us here today. [applause] a big round of applause. we have our commerce secretary penny pritzker here as well as iowa congressman dave lobesack and attorney general tom miller. [applause] yay, tom! and i was reminded by the president that we have to give a shout out to a top 25 basketball team. [applause] the president was lobbying me about putting them in my bracket. i said, it is a little early. [laughter] i have to see what happens in the 2nd half of the season. [laughter] you know, the panthers are putting together a heck of a season again. i think most folks learned a few years ago, that when march rolls around, you do not bet against uni.
[applause] it is great to be back. i have seen a lot of good friends. unfortunately, they are not giving me time to grab a beer down at the pumphouse this trip. although i understand the mayor said he brought a bud light for me. [laughter] the mayor brought a bud light -- he is trying to sneak it around the secret service. but obviously, it is wonderful coming back to iowa, even during winter. in fact, especially in the cold. these folks in washington can't handle the cold. we know how to handle cold in the midwest. here in iowa, on a cold january caucus night about 7 years ago we talked about change and said that it was time for us to move this country in a new direction. obviously a lot has changed. i am much grayer, for example. [laughter] as a country, we fought through
the worst financial crisis and recession in our lifetimes. the american people showed a lot of resilience and resolve and there is no doubt about it. thanks to the steps that we took early to rescue the economy, to rebuild it on a new foundation america is coming back. last year was the strongest year for job growth since the 1990s. unemployment -- [applause] unemployment fell in 2014 faster than any year since 1984. our businesses have created more than 11 million jobs in the last 58 straight months. that is the longest stretch of private sector job growth in american history. since 2010, america has put more people back to work than europe, japan, and every other advanced economy combined. and -- [applause] you know -- [applause]
a lot of folks talk about some of the jobs are being created in the service sector, they're not paying as much. the truth is, american manufacturing is in its best stretch of job growth since the 1990s. manufacturing is actually growing faster than the rest of the economy. meanwhile, america is now the number one producer of oil and gas in the world. [applause] and by the way, you're saving about $1.20 a gallon at the pump over this time last year. so these past six years, we are trying. it has demanded a lot of hard work and sacrifice on everybody's part. but as a country, we have a right to be proud about what we have to show for it. america's resurgence is real and we are better positioned than any other country on earth to succeed in the 21st century. now on tuesday, i will deliver
my state of the union address, and in my speech, i will focus on how we can build on the progress we have made and help more americans feel that resurgence in their daily lives with higher wages and rising incomes and growing our middle class. but since i only have two years in office left, i am kind of in a rush. i didn't want to wait until the state of the union to share some of my ideas, my plans. i have been traveling across the country, rolling out these ideas. plans to help more families afford a home. plans to make more students -- can attend community college without loading up with debt. plans to make more workers find good jobs in high tech manufacturing. and in the 21st century, in this age of innovation and in technology, so much of the prosperity that we are striving for, so many of the jobs that we want to create depend upon our digital economy. depends on our ability to
connect and to shop and to do business and discover and learn online in cyberspace. so this week i have been laying out new proposals on how we can keep seizing these opportunities in this information age, while at the same time protecting security and privacy and prosperity and values. on monday, i announced new steps to protect american consumers from identity theft. and make sure your privacy is protected. yesterday, i spoke at the department of homeland security about how we can work with the private sector to better defend american companies against cyber attacks. today, i am in cedar falls to talk about how we can give more communities access to faster cheaper broadband. so they can succeed in the digital economy. and i am not telling you anything you do not already know.
today, high-speed broadband is not a luxury, it's a necessity. this is not just about making it easier to stream netflix, to scroll through your facebook news feed, although that is fun. it is frustrating if you are waiting for a long time before the thing finally comes up. this is about helping local businesses grow and prosper and compete in a global economy. it's about giving the entrepreneur, the small business person on main street, a chance to compete with the folks out in silicon valley or across the globe. it's about helping a student access the online classes or employment opportunities that can help her pursue her dreams. that is why through the recovery act, when i first came into office and we were trying to make sure that we prevented the great depression, but also start building some foundations
for long term growth, we built or improved more than 113,000 miles of network infrastructure throughout the country. that's enough to circle globe -- to circle the globe more than four times. we offer tax credits to help spur businesses to expand their networks. we have hooked up tens of thousands of schools and libraries and medical facilities and community organizations. and then launched something we call connected, which trains teachers and spurs private sector innovation and is connecting 99% of america's students to high-speed internet. but -- and this is why i am here -- we still have a lot of work to do. right now, 98% of americans have access to the most basic levels of broadband, which is a good thing. but that number does not look quite as good when you look at the speeds we are going to need for the
apps and video and data and new software that is constantly coming on the market. we have to keep pace and be up to speed. right now, about 45 million americans cannot purchase next generation broadband. that next generation of broadband creates connections that are six or seven times faster than today's basic speeds. by the way, only about half of rural americans can log on at that super fast rate. if folks do have good, fast internet, chances are they only have one provider to pick from. today, tens of millions of americans have only one choice for that next generation of broadband. they are pretty much at the whim of whatever internet provider is around. what happens when there's no competition? you are stuck on hold. you're watching the loading icons been -- icon spin.
you are waiting. and waiting. and waiting. meanwhile, you are wondering why your rates keep getting jacked up when the service does not seem to be improving. now, in cedar falls, things are different. about 20 years ago, in a visionary move ahead of its time, this city voted to add another option to the market and invest in a community broadband network. really smart thing you guys did. [laughter] [applause] it was a really smart thing you guys did. you have managed it right here at cedar falls utilities. a few years ago, you realized that customers were demanding more and more speed. all the movies, all the increased data, instagram, all this stuff. suddenly is just being loaded up.
and basically you guys were like the captain in "jaws" and said we will need a bigger boat. [laughter] having already made the smart investment 20 years ago, about five years ago, you said we have to upgrade to a fiber network throughout the city. eventually, with the help of some federal funding, the surrounding rural areas as well. so today, cedar falls is iowa's first gigabit city. [applause] that sounds like something out of a "star wars" movie. gigabit city. here's what it means. your network is as fast as some of the best networks in the world. there is hong kong, tokyo, paris, cedar falls. [laughter] right? [applause]
that is the company you are keeping. you are almost 100 times faster than the national average. one hundred times faster. [applause] and you can log on for about the same price as some folks paid for a fully loaded cable bundle. today, you have small businesses like mark's that are serving clients worldwide. google named you the best city in iowa for e-commerce. what you are showing is, here in america, you do not have to be the biggest community to do really big things. you just have to to have some vision and you have to work together, and we are seeing that same kind of innovation and energy and foresight in communities across the country. in lafayette, louisiana, companies are bringing jobs to the city in part because of their fast, next-generation
broadband network. in november, the people of yuma county, colorado voted overwhelmingly in favor of a community broadband network. that is in the same election where 85% of the folks just voted for a republican senate candidate. so this is not a partisan issue , not a red issue or a blue issue. folks just want to know that they are at the cutting edge of this new economy. folks around the nation want these broadband networks. they are good for business. they are good for community. they are good for schools. and they are good for the marketplace, because they promote efficiency and competition. here in cedar falls, if you do not want the highest speed package, you can still choose between the cedar falls utilities or options like mediacom or century link. it is not like you do not have choices. you can pick the company that offers the best service at the lowest cost for your family's needs. that is how free markets and capitalism are supposed to work.
here is the catch. in too many places across america, some big companies are doing everything they can to keep out competitors. today, in 19 states, we have laws on the books that stamp out competition and make it really difficult for communities to provide there own broadband the way you guys are. in some states, it is virtually impossible to create a community network like the one that you've got here in cedar falls. so today i am saying, we are going to change that. enough is enough. [applause] we will change that so every community can do the smart things you guys are doing. not long ago i made my position clear on what is called net neutrality. i believe we have to maintain a free and open internet. today, i am making my administration's position clear
on community broadband. i am saying i am on the side of competition and small business owners like mark. i am on the side of students and schools. i believe that a community has the right to make its own choice, and to provide its own broadband if it wants to. no one will force you to do it but if you want to do it, if the community decides that this is something that we want to do to give ourselves a competitive edge and help your young people and our businesses, they should be able to do it. and if there are state laws in place that prohibit or restrict these community-based efforts, all of us, including the fcc which is responsible for regulating this area, should do everything we can to push back on those old laws. i believe that is what stands out about america. this belief that more competition means better products and cheaper prices. we do that with just about every
other product, we ought to do it with broadband. it is just common sense. that is why leaders from 50 cities and towns across the country -- it's a coalition called next century cities -- have pledged to bring next-generation broadband to their cities and towns. and that's why i am announcing a series additional actions to support their efforts and to encourage more communities to follow your lead, cedar falls. i am directing federal agencies to get rid of unnecessary regulations that slow the expansion of broadband or limit competition. they will report back to me in six months. the department of commerce penny pritzker who is here, they're going work to offer support and technical assistance to communities that want to follow your lead and set up their own networks. usda, the department of agriculture is announcing new loan opportunities for rural providers. this summer, i will host mayors from around the nation at a community broadband summit to chart the next steps that we need to take. that is what we will be doing. we will clear away red tape,
we will foster competition, help communities connect, and help communities succeed in our digital economy. [applause] the good news is, we know that it works because of you. you guys were like the guinea pigs on this thing. [applause] you took a chance and made something happen. you are supporting the jobs of the future through faster, cheaper internet. we want everybody to do that. i want to leave you with a story of another community that has done this as well. chattanooga, tennessee. it's an old railroad town. it was once called the dirtiest city in the nation. during the recession, they were hit harder than most places. but that did not stop them from building america's 1st citywide high-speed fiber network, right down the middle of downtown.
it is as fast as what you have in cedar falls. today, a new generation of engineers and entrepreneurs have moved down to chattanooga. big businesses have set up shop. volkswagen built a billion-dollar manufacturing plant. it is unleashing a tornado of innovation. the city is even testing out futuristic technologies like 3-d holograms. here is what their former mayor said, it is like being the first city to have fire. [laughter] we don't know all the things we can do with it yet. yet. but think about that. when you are first at something, when you figure something out, you may not know all of the applications right away, but that is the spirit of america. imagining what might come next. we may not always know what is right around the corner, but we know that we will figure it out.
as long as we are bold and we go ahead and work together. we have been through some very hard times. we did not always know that they were coming. but we pulled together, we worked together, we relied on each other, we believed in each other, and we figured it out. we are blessed with the greatest natural resource in the world. not corn. [laughter] but the pluck and the ingenuity and the willingness to take risks of the american people. i am absolutely confident if we give americans the tools that they need, if we help lay the foundation and allow them to access the amazing opportunities and technologies at this moment in world history, we are not just going to continue recovering from a bad recession, we're ignite the next generation of american innovation. and it we will start right here in cedar falls, iowa. thank you.
address tuesday night before a joint section of congress. we have live coverage getting at 8:00 eastern. will also open our phone lines. we will take your reaction on facebook and twitter. after their speech, we will bring you the republican response live being delivered by freshman lawmaker joni ernst from iowa. at the joint retreat by house and senator -- house and senate republicans, -- this was a briefing that majority leader mitch mcconnell and the present of john boehner held. it is about 15 minutes. >> good afternoon. republicans continue to make the american people's priorities jobs and economy, our priorities. we have had a great opportunity